The Fall of Leicester City
February 28, 2017
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After taking over England by overcoming improbable odds to win the Barclays Premier League, the Leicester City Foxes have seemingly disappeared from the face of the Earth. Take a look at the current standings, and you will find the Foxes sitting at 15th in the league with 24 points, just 2 points ahead of the relegation zone. How did this happen?
The first issue is that Leicester struggled to improve its roster over the offseason. While teams such as Manchester United and Manchester City made large transfer deals to bring in new players, the Foxes did not have as much power in the transfer market. They ended up making three major acquisitions: Islam Slimani (from Sporting CP for 30 million euros), Ahmed Musa (CSKA Moscow, 19.5 million euros), and Nampalys Mendy (OGC Nice, 15.5 million euros). The results have not been very good. Slimani has scored seven goals and is credited with four assists in 20 appearances, making him the best player out of the three, although he has been critiqued for his inconsistency. Musa has struggled, making 29 appearances but scoring only four goals. Mendy has just not gotten much playing time, seeing only nine appearances across all competitions. More importantly, they lost their most important midfielder in N’Golo Kante, who went to Chelsea for a transfer fee of 35.8 million euros. Combined, these resulted in a team that had considerably less talent on the field than before.
The other reason is the competition. Leicester City capitalized on a season where the normal powerhouses were all down. Manchester United, Manchester City, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, and Tottenham were all performing badly. This year, however, all of these teams have mounted impressive campaigns. The Foxes also have a large target on their backs as defending champions and are no longer overlooked by other teams, resulting in fewer shockers as defenders slacked off. Combine that with a bad start as well as markedly high expectations, and this team is much more mentally exhausted than before. Finally, the addition of their responsibility to play in the UEFA Champions League further adds to the exhaustion.
The Leicester City Foxes were an incredible team to watch last season. They played with soul and intensity. However, that season has ended, and the new season shows that nothing good lasts forever. Leicester fans rejoiced after that season, but they may have to wait a while to rejoice again.
Photo Credit: http://www.edp24.co.uk/polopoly_fs/1.4434728.1456495147!/image/image.jpg_gen/derivatives/landscape_630/image.jpg